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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.468 SNIP: 0.905 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v2.i1-2.70
pages 91-111

LOCAL DISCOURSE MATTERS: A CASE STUDY OF COMMUNICATION IN AN UNDERGRADUATE CALCULUS CLASS

Sharon Sue Kleinman
Quinnipiac University; and Department of Communication, 336 Kennedy Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

ABSTRACT

I investigated communication in a first level, coeducational, undergraduate calculus class at an Ivy League university to develop an understanding of students' experiences at this critical stage in the science pipeline. Through participant observation and semi-structured interviewing of class members, I identified and explored communication factors affecting students' satisfaction and documented discourse patterns that impeded or dissuaded women in particular from participating in class to their potential. Findings relate to two theoretical areas: (a) gender and communication, and (b) social psychological processes in the science pipeline, especially with respect to women. I suggest that many communication factors that contribute to the filtering of women from the science pipeline are remediable, including a local discourse that is adversarial or marginalizing. Local discourse refers to all aspects of communication among class members in the class setting. I report communication strategies for students and teachers that participants from my study suggested to facilitate learning and student satisfaction.


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